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Anti-Piracy Watermarking Coming Soon To Digital Cinema

Digital watermarks are embedded in the movie during production, placed in a spot least visible to movie-watchers.

Access Integrated Technologies Inc. (AccessIT) intends to roll out a digital cinema anti-piracy initiative focused on forensic watermarking technology, and detection and recovery services by April.

Incorporated into the platform, CineFence watermark technology licensed from Royal Philips Electronics. The strategy aims to help movie studios and other content owners fend off pirates who bring camcorders into theaters to record and redistribute movies illegally.

The Motion Picture Association of America estimates movie pirates cost Hollywood an estimated $3.5 billon annually.

Christie/AIX, AccessIT's wholly owned subsidiary, will incorporate the anti-piracy watermarking technology into its digital cinema projection platforms for movie theaters. The detection software complies with Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specifications defined last year for digital movie distribution.

Digital watermarks are embedded in the movie during production. "The watermarks are typically inserted in the movie at a place least visible to patrons, so it doesn't disturb the viewing experience," said Russell Wintner, president and chief operating officer of Access Digital Media, a division of AccessIT.

The media player and projector in the Christi/AIX platform will contain software that detects and projects watermarks. The content identification service analyzes pirated media for time, data and location, tracing it back to the source.

AccessIT's watermark detection and content identification service, headquartered in the company's Chatsworth, Calif., satellite operations center will provide the forensic recovery services.

CineFence was developed by Philips as a rights protection, tracking and monitoring platform for digital content. Philips touts the CineFence watermarking system as the first DCI-compliant system digital movies.

Expanding its services, AccessIT also launched Wednesday a method for theaters with digital equipment to exhibit 3D movies through an agreement with In-Three Inc. and NuVision Technologies LLC.

The two companies will provide AccessIT and participating theaters with infra-red emitters, 3D active shutter glasses that don't require a silver screen, and 3D test and sample media.

Theaters can purchase active 3D shutter glasses from NuVision. About 2,300 screens will receive the technology within the first year of the agreement as AccessIT attempt to keep-up with demand for alternative media content.

When AccessIT's Pavilion Digital Showcase Theatre in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York, showed Chicken Little in three-dimensional (3D) technology last year, attendance skyrocketed, Wintner said.

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